Stuff We Love: World Book Night
The Pubslush team passing out books for World Book Night 2012.
What is World Book Night?
World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the joy of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and nonreaders.
World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so. But it is also about more than that: It’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways—through the sharing of stories.
World Book Night is a nonprofit organization. We exist because of the support of thousands of book givers, booksellers, librarians, financial supporters, and corporate sponsors who believe in our mission.
Where did the idea originate?
World Book Night was successfully launched in the U.K. in 2011. The idea was born in an Industry conference in 2010, the purpose of which was to imagine a way to encourage more adults to read. After the great success it had in 2011 in the UK, the idea spread across the world to the USA, Ireland, and Germany. The first World Book Night USA was held on April 23, 2012. Thank you to our U.K. friends for such a wonderful idea!
How did you spread the word for the first U.S. WBN?
We had a strong social media marketing campaign that was complemented by some local press. Additionally, the booksellers took it upon themselves to contact their local press and get the word out about World Book Night. We were lucky to also have some national press and support from all our sponsors. Finally, the book community united to help us spread the joy of reading and the mission of World Book Night.
How are the books chosen?
Each year, an independent council of booksellers and librarians selects the books. Their decision is informed by the nominations of thousands of passionate readers. Each year, the previous year’s givers are given the opportunity to nominate books for consideration.
What feedback did you receive after the first U.S. WBN?
We’ve heard heartwarming stories from hundreds of givers and recipients, some of them include:
- Chris Cander’s article on her experience at a shelter for homeless and runaway teens:
- “Gave a book to a woman this morning, who took it with tears in her eyes. She told me that she rarely gets to the library and cannot afford to buy new books on her own. She graciously took the book, opened it up, smelled the pages, said ‘God bless you, my child,’ and walked away clutching her new found treasure. Makes me tear up too, thinking about what a difference we are making today!” – Adrian
- “I’d like to let you know that just this night I received a packet of thank-you letters hand-written by most of the recipients of my 20 copies of The Hunger Games. These letters come from inmates at a local correctional facility, to whom I donated copies of my WBN book. … My favorite part of any letter was probably: ‘I think the idea for World Book Night is [a] beneficial concept to help people because for myself, I don’t like reading. By you giving us this book, it was the first book that I ever read. I liked the book, and now I’m reading book two Catching Fire.’ (This man stated to my friend, who works at the facility, that this was the first full-length book he had ever read to completion in his life.)” - Heather
Will there be any changes for the upcoming WBN?
After gathering very important feedback from our 2012 givers we’re aiming to make World Book Night an even better experience for 2013. We’re making it easier for the new readers to get feedback to us while encouraging givers to get feedback themselves, whenever possible. Additionally, we’re suggesting to the bookstores and libraries to host receptions in the week prior to April 23rd. There are some other ideas in the works that we wish will be possible for 2013… we strive to improve each year after listening closely to our volunteers.
How can people get involved?
People can apply to be givers. Book givers are people that volunteer to give out 20 copies of a book to light or non readers. Additionally, people can help spread the word on World Book Night through their social media or by sharing it with their community. Other ways to help us is by donating or informing us of local foundations that might be able to give some financial support.
Bookstores and libraries can sign up to be pick up points, and we encourage the booksellers and librarians to be givers themselves as well!
A big thanks to our friends at World Book Night for sharing this wonderful information with us! For more information, visit www.us.worldbooknight.org/.